Starting next year every medical doctor in Georgia will be required to undergo opioid training.
Prescription opioids are powerful pain medications that include prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially serious risks.
These medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used properly.
But when misused or abused, they can cause serious harm, including addiction, overdose and death.
Dan DeLoach, Chairman of the Georgia Medical Board, says, "Georgia is experiencing an opioid epidemic."
He says the new training requirement was needed. “We’re seeing the number of people addicted to opioids increase on an annual basis. We’re seeing the number of people dying from an opioid overdose increase on an annual basis.”
Atlanta Dr. Michael Randell says it is absolutely a problem, "I see a lot of patients wanting more than they need."
Some doctors are pushing back, saying other steps have already been taken to fight the problem and they are worried this may lead to other mandates.
"This is just one more thing to do as a practicing physician in Georgia, and I think we will all comply and get through it," says Randell.
The new training required for Georgia doctors will cover instruction on the guidelines for properly prescribing the powerful painkiller, as well as recognizing signs of abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015.